First World War: Airfields
Remarkably, the hangars at Larkhill still survive, as have many of the buildings at nearby Upavon - under development from 1912 as the Central Flying School - and nearby Netheravon, which from late 1913 was a prototype flying base and has retained the layout of its flying field and a complete group of officers’ and airmen’s accommodation with their associated messes. Stow Maries airfield in Essex is the best-preserved First World War airfield in Europe and its 24 original buildings are listed Grade II*.
It was built in 1916 as a direct response to increased attacks on the British mainland by German Zeppelins and later Gotha and Giant fixed-wing bombers. Abandoned in 1920 and subsequently re-used for agricultural purposes, this unique site has been saved and is the subject of on-going restoration.
Nationally, by November 1918 the RAF occupied 30 sites as well as 60 airship and 14 balloon stations.
First World War Airfields
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